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  • 47 tear down

    hello all.

    i have just recently acquired a 47 wdx that i have wanted since i was a teenager. the history i have been told on it is that it was originally ordered by a Montana utility company. somewhere in the early 70's my uncle purchased it from a auction. I was told he used it to go down to the river bottoms on weekends and retrieve car bodys to turn in for scrap and pay for his weekend camping trips. 1994 my dad got it and worked on it a little bit until he lost interest. this winter i bought it from him and have since started tearing it apart. i currently have the front end out and am going thru the front axle. when i took the spring out i noticed the driver side spring pack was badly broken. upon closer inspection both front springs appear to have been added to. there are 14 leaves in each front springs 13 of them appear to be original springs and others are not the same material. i am going to have these spings sandblasted and powdered with a graphite based powder hoping to protect them and let them slide a little easier. what is supposed to be in the spring packs? I am sure i will be asking many questions in the coming months/years. Thank you in advance for information/help.

    Mike



    first.jpg

  • #2
    Nice acquisition! You'll have fun rebuilding it. That seems like a good idea, powder coating it with a graphite coating. Should make the leaves slide more easily and make for a little nicer ride quality. I'm currently de-rusting the leaves in the front springs off my '49 Power Wagon and then I'll swab some grease on them to make them slide more better. The graphite powder coating is an interesting idea, and might last longer than grease. As for what is supposed to be in the spring packs, I think some of the early front packs had grease between them, with grooves in the leaves to help hold the grease. Not sure if that's what you meant. Also, be aware that some early front leaves looked like they were cracked/broken, but the packs were actually made with one or two leaves containing breaks/separations. I don't know if the breaks were supposed to make the ride better or something else. Some of the original leaves in my truck were in pieces, and looking back on it, I think they may have been made that way, but I didn't know it at the time, and I ended up removing them and buying a set of left and right front springs made for a WWII 3/4-ton Dodge WC, which fit just fine, but don't have the grooves or the separations in them. It may be just as well, because the leaves were sagging, and I could tell the whole front end had seen hard use from hoisting heavy stuff from an A-frame or something of that sort. A lot of stuff in the front was worn out, and the frame itself was bent near the front mount of one of the front springs.

    Anyway, good luck with your truck and keep us posted on your progress!

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    • #3
      It's my understanding that greasing springs without also protecting them from grit intrusion is, eventually, fatal.

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      • #4
        11 leaves in the front and 12 leaves in the rear are I believe the factory number for those spring, it sounds like your build is coming along well. I find the design of the front axle to be quite interesting. As you go through that front axle please feel free to pick our minds all that you want. Have fun, most of all.
        1967 W200.aka.Hank
        1946 WDX.aka.Shorty
        2012 Ram 2500 PowerWagon.aka Ollie

        Life is easier in a lower gear.

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        • #5
          That looks fun and challenging project. Have fun

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          • #6
            so far i have gone thru the front spring packs and replaced broken or badly rusted leaves. i currently have the front axle down to the bare tube and have managed to find 3 of 5 wheels in good shape. I found out the tires on the truck were purchased new in 65. i brought them to the tire shop to get them broken down and they tried one. shortly after my phone rang and they informed me they couldn't get them broken down. I have ended up cutting all of the tires off the wheel which is so much less than fun. I am very fortunate in that we have a sandblasting and powder coating part the shop so i have been able to take parts off and clean them up and paint them. The front axle should be going back together this weekend. next will be cab removal and stripping frame down so i can bring that to work before i wear out my welcome on sandblasting and powdering for the cost of powder.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Jeremy Horvath View Post
              It's my understanding that greasing springs without also protecting them from grit intrusion is, eventually, fatal.
              Well, shoot, I just finished putting the last of the springs and the axle housing back in the truck this afternoon, with the leaves all greased up. I don't have any plans for protecting them, but I had done some searching of the archives on Joe's forum and found some comments saying that these springs are so tightly packed that nothing gets between them, so I just decided to go for it. Anyway, where I live is not dusty, and I won't be doing a lot of offroading, and probably won't be driving the truck more than a couple thousand mile per year.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Matt Wilson View Post

                Well, shoot, I just finished putting the last of the springs and the axle housing back in the truck this afternoon, with the leaves all greased up. I don't have any plans for protecting them, but I had done some searching of the archives on Joe's forum and found some comments saying that these springs are so tightly packed that nothing gets between them, so I just decided to go for it. Anyway, where I live is not dusty, and I won't be doing a lot of offroading, and probably won't be driving the truck more than a couple thousand mile per year.
                Sounds they will be fine for the next couple of years.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Ellion View Post

                  Sounds they will be fine for the next couple of years.
                  Hopefully longer than that! :-)

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                  • #10
                    after sandblasting front axle i noticed a few cracks in the tube right next to the passenger side spring perch. i cut the cracked welds out and rewelded them. i got to thinking what other places are typical for cracking to keep a eye out?
                    also what does everyone do as far as seat belts/car seats. i have a 2 year old daughter that currently helps me out on tear down. OK she really isnt that helpful but she keeps asking me when we are going to drive it and tho it is a ways out my wife keeps telling me i cant take her until i can safely mount a car seat. Any suggestions?

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Door hinges are a big one. I think Dodge added support plates to the upper hinges because of it. I also found (and poorly fixed) one at the corners of the upper radiator cover in the lower corners. I TIG welded it but noticed the other day it cracked again, but I didn't find a lot in the frame parts, and my truck lived it's life as a wrecker so it was well abused.

                      As for seats common sources are front bench seats from mid size (Dakota) and compact (ranger, S10) trucks, but lots of other seats could and have been made to work. I used aftermarket buckets from an online source, they're nice but big in the small cab. Of course there are all the suspension seats from places like Summit and Jegs for the rock-crawler crowd.

                      Seat belts are not too hard to install, there are a few places that sell both lap only and 3-point harnesses. I don't remember the name of the place I got mine but they basically only sell belts, I used them for my Desoto lap belts and then again for the 3-point belts in my PW. They key in both respects is having a solid mounting point. The kits come with or you can buy install kits that include mounting plates. On my Desoto I drilled holes for the eye-bolts which had big heavy washer plates that sandwich the factory floor pan.

                      On the Power Wagon I welded a piece of plate to the underside of the cab with a welded nut for the mounting point for the retractor mechanism, and the mounting points for my seat base. I then bolted the latch and the outer lap point to the seat base frame. For the shoulder point I used the longest piece of angle iron I could fit that was sized to slide down the B-pillar and welded the captured nut plate that came with the install kit to that and then drilled some holes through the B-pillar and plug welded that to the pillar, obviously with a hole for the bolt to go through.

                      You can see photos of it all on my build thread.

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                      • #12
                        i have looked over your posts quite a bit and very nice work. My power wagon was purchased new by a rural utility company in north eastern Montana. and have a very hard life until 1965. at that point someone purchased it as a salvage truck. Somewhere in the late 70's my uncle bought it and continued to use it very hard. so far i have the front axle rebuilt and am stripping everything off the frame to check that for damage. and sandblast and powder that.

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                        • #13
                          So after some delay i am finally done with springs and axles i took the frame in to get sandblasted. I am just curious i have read that some people have boxed their frames. What does the crowd think about this i know my truck was used/abused for 50 of the last 70 years and i have not found any cracks or real damage to frame other than some pack rust that was in between the brackets and fish plates on the frame. So my question is what are the pros and cons of boxing frame on these old work horses i plan on using my PW from time to time and want it to continue its history of a hard working old truck.

                          Comment


                          • Desoto61
                            Desoto61 commented
                            Editing a comment
                            Short version: In my opinion there's no need to box the frame based on what it sounds like you are going to use the truck for unless it was badly damaged or rusted and then you'd be better off just getting a better frame. These trucks wouldn't have survived everything they have if the frames were weak.

                            I think the only reason to box the frame is if you are trying to design and build your own suspension system as modern engineering practice is to have the suspension do all the flexing which needs to assume the frame doesn't flex too, and the frame on these trucks was designed to flex as seen by how the cab and everything else is mounted with the ability to allow that movement. There is nothing weak about the frames on these trucks so there is little strength benefit IMO.

                            I would be worried about rust on something you plan to drive and use. The front part of the frame has that sistered C-channel which already has a tendency to trap water and rust, adding a box to prevent visibility or access as well as sealing up the edges where moisture can't escape doesn't seem the best idea long term.

                            I also wonder how you box the frame well around the cross-members and front suspension? If you just plate around them you create an even more likely place for water and debris to build up and they're already bad for that. Plus you'd have to weld nuts to any bolt holes since you'd loose access to the back side to install the nut.

                            My truck spent at least 40 years of it's life as a working wrecker truck, and the only real damage to the frame has been from rust due to living in Ohio most of it's life. The truck had helper springs installed when I bought it that would rest against 1/4" thick Z shaped brackets that bolted to the frame. All four of those brackets had been snapped off where the springs would have sat, so I know it was abused well above it's rated capacity. To be fair there is a heavy piece of L-channel welded to the top side of the frame under the bed to support the wrecker equipment, which I'm sure provides some strength to the frame too, but there's no problems at the stress point at the end of that support or elsewhere along the frame either.

                        • #14
                          Desoto61,

                          That was my thought as well just curious about pros and cons. The fish plate was rusted but the frame was actually in very good condition behind it. I work in a small fabrication shop so i drew up the fish plates and made them. i have removed anything that attached to the frame and blasted behind them before paint and will put everything back on. I am hoping that someday my daughter will be as excited about this old truck as she is now. She is almost 3 years old and when she helps me with it she keeps talking about daddy's power wagon. she even tells people "my dad has a power wagon he is fixing it".

                          Comment


                          • #15
                            You may want to look back through your old issues of the PWA for a two-part article in the PWA addressing frame repair. Those two issues are February and March of 2004. Matt should of help here is your PWA hard copies don't go back that far.

                            Briefly, I will say that carrying loads on the relatively flat surfaces that a wrecker will encounter is vastly different from the more extreme twisting action the frame will encounter in off-road terrain. The fact is that there are several build-in week points in these frames and one of them is where the double layer frame channel transitions to a single layer channel. This happens right where the front spring perch of the rear axle is riveted to the frame rail. There is a row if rivet holes that line up in such a way that say's "tear here".

                            CD
                            1949 B-1 PW (Gus)
                            1955 C-3 PW (Woodrow)
                            2001 Dodge 2500 (Dish...formerly Maney's Mopar)
                            1978 Suzuki GS1000EC (fulfills the need...the need for speed)
                            1954 Ford 860 tractor
                            1966 Chrysler LS 16 sailboat (as yet un-named)
                            UVA UVAM VIVENDO VARIA FITS

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